Infrared vs. Steam Saunas: Differences and Benefits

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Infrared vs. Steam Saunas: Differences and Benefits

When it comes to saunas, there are a number of distinct varieties available to choose from, each of which offers its own selection of advantages. Among the many types of saunas, the steam saunas that are traditional to Finland and the infrared saunas that are more recent and contemporary are two of the most popular types.

In this post, we will discuss the differences between steam saunas (and rooms) and infrared saunas, as well as offer some insights into which type of sauna would be the most suitable option for achieving your health and wellness goals.

What Types of Saunas are there?

Infrared vs. Steam Saunas

There are four diverse types of saunas:

  • Traditional or regular sauna (also called ‘Finnish sauna’ or steam sauna)
  • Dry sauna
  • Steam bath or Turkish bath
  • Infrared therapy sauna

Every sauna offers a unique experience.

Traditional saunas and infrared therapy saunas are popular choices for home use.

There are options available for custom-designed or pre-built home saunas. They can be easily installed either inside or outside.

One of the advantages of pre-built saunas is their portability and affordability compared to custom-built options. They can be conveniently purchased and quickly installed in just one to two hours. Additionally, they offer a variety of styles and sizes to choose from.

What is an Infrared Sauna?

An infrared sauna is a wooden room that gently warms the body using infrared rays rather than relying on excessive heat or humidity. The infrared rays, similar to our natural body heat, can penetrate deep into the body, reaching approximately 1 ½ inches and directly warming the body.

The saunas that use infrared rays for heating typically maintain a lower temperature range of 115-130 degrees Fahrenheit, which is significantly lower than the higher temperatures of traditional saunas. 

Despite the lower temperature, infrared saunas are highly efficient at directly heating the body, making them one of the most beneficial options available.

What is a Steam Room?

 A steam room is made of a non-porous material, such as glass or tile, and is an airtight room that warms the body through high heat and humidity. A steam generator boils water to make steam, creating a moisture-rich environment.

Average temperatures hover around 120 degrees Fahrenheit, although it may feel much hotter due to humidity levels that can reach up to 100 percent. As opposed to infrared saunas, which heat the user directly, steam rooms heat the outside environment, warming the user from the outside in.

Infrared vs. Steam Saunas

Infrared vs. Steam Saunas


Infrared Sauna

Steam Sauna

Heat Source

Uses infrared heaters to emit infrared light experienced as radiant heat, absorbed directly by the body.

Heats the air in the room, typically using a steam generator or water over hot rocks.

Temperature Range

Lower temperatures (usually between 120°F - 140°F).

Higher temperatures (often between 150°F - 190°F).


Low humidity, the air remains relatively dry.

High humidity due to steam, creating a moist environment.

Health Benefits

Deep tissue relaxation, detoxification, pain relief, improved circulation. Believed to penetrate muscles more deeply.

Respiratory benefits due to moist heat, skin cleansing, relaxation, improved circulation.


Gentle and dry heat, often considered more comfortable for longer sessions.

Intense and moist heat, may feel more oppressive, shorter sessions are common.

Energy Efficiency

More energy-efficient due to lower temperatures and direct heating methods.

Less energy-efficient, as it takes more energy to heat the room and maintain high temperatures.

Installation & Maintenance

Easier to install, less maintenance as there's no moisture to cause mold or mildew.

May require more complex installation and regular maintenance to manage moisture and prevent mold.

Benefits of Infrared Saunas Vs. Steam Rooms

We just learned that infrared saunas and steam rooms do not work at all the same way. Infrared saunas give off dry heat, while steam rooms give off wet heat.

Infrared technology heats the body very well without needing very hot temperatures around it. It has been shown to help with muscle and joint pain, boost the immune system, and speed up detoxification and metabolic response, all of which can help with weight loss and getting rid of toxins in skin tissue.

A lot of people also know that steam rooms can help your heart health and lower your blood pressure. The mucous membranes in the lungs and sinus cavities get warmer in hot, muggy air, which is good for overall health. In a comparison of the two, steam rooms have been shown to help with lung and heart health, skin health, and muscle and joint pain.

Infrared saunas, on the other hand, have been shown to speed up your metabolism and help you lose weight. They are also good for your heart, relieve muscle and joint pain, boost your immune system, clean out your body, reduce the look of cellulite, reduce stress and tiredness, and make your skin look better.


People and families can both get much-needed health benefits from infrared saunas and steam rooms. Stress can be relieved, relaxation can grow, and health and happiness can improve all around. To put it simply, they can be useful additions to your home and way of life.

Before you buy an infrared sauna or steam room, you should think about what you and your family need and also look over the facts. What room in your house will this new feature go? How healthy are you right now? What are your health and wellness plans for the future?

Would you like to put it on yourself, or do you need a professional to do it? When you ask these questions ahead of time, you can find the best infrared sauna or steam room for your needs.

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